The Do’s and Don’ts During Child Custody Mediation
If you and your spouse are going through a divorce and you have children, it’s important to understand how stressful and traumatizing this time can be for them. Through child custody mediation services, you can help reduce the negative effects of divorce on your children. To help you help your children, here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts of child custody mediation.
The Do’s During Child Custody Mediation
DO treat your ex as a business partner in raising your children. You both share the same “business” goal: to do what’s best for your children.
DO make your kids your priority, especially during the divorce process. Your children may feel like their entire world is crashing down, and they can also be blaming themselves during this time. Make an effort to lessen their stress and listen to their concerns during the process.
DO spend time with each child individually. Understand that a divorce can affect your children in very different ways. While one child may be more vocal about their concerns and feelings, another may be expressing their needs through actions instead. By spending time with them individually, you can get a better idea of how you can help them through this.
DO keep pictures and mementos of the other parent in your child’s room to help them stay connected to the other parent.
DO allow the child to communicate with the other parent and the parent to communicate with the child on a reasonable and consistent schedule.
DO give your ex the benefit of the doubt. Check out your concerns with the other parent without believing everything that comes out of your child’s mouth.
DO make every effort to make sure your child visits the other parent on a regular schedule. Sometimes your child will not want to go. It’s your job to encourage them to go and let them know you want them to have fun. Tell you love them, you’ll be okay, and you’ll be there when they get back.
DO let your children know the schedule that has been decided. Make a calendar to show when they’re going to be with you and when they’re going to be with the other parent.
DO inform the children of changes to the schedule only after the parents have mutually agreed on the changes. For example, don’t promise your children that you’ll take them to the movies this weekend if it’s not your weekend with them—unless you’ve gotten approval from the other parent.
The Don’ts During Child Custody Mediation
DON’T treat your ex like the enemy. You may hate each other right now, but you both have the same goal (your children’s success). Until your children are on your own, you’ll need to work together as a team for their sakes.
DON’T share negative feelings about the other parent with your kids. You don’t want to poison their opinion of their parent just because of your feelings.
DON’T block the child’s communication with the other parent. Your children have just as much of a right to communicate with your spouse as with you.
DON’T disrupt the child’s schedule in the other household when you want to communicate with your child. Respect their time with the other parent, just as you would want your time respected.
DON’T obstruct your child’s visits with the other parent. If you’ve previously agreed upon a schedule, make sure you stick with it—for the good of your entire family.
DON’T discuss details of the mediation negotiations or court case with your children. That is unacceptable. A divorce is an adult issue and needs to remain between adults.
DON’T use the kids as go-betweens to pass messages to the other parent. Communication regarding adult issues should be between the parents only. Use your child custody mediator or another third party if needed.
Child Custody Mediation Services
With a background as a behavior therapist and extensive experience with mediation, Eric Piety can help your entire family through the divorce mediation process. We specialize in child custody mediation, in addition to divorce mediation, to help all members of a family make it through a stressful conflict. Learn more about child custody mediation below, and contact me to schedule a free consultation.